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Bilibili buys NetEase's manga unit; ByteDance raising US$1.45B for media content

In this biweekly Asia video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Asian markets.

Top news

* Chinese anime-streaming service Bilibili Inc. acquired Wangyi Manhua, the manga unit of NetEase Inc., for an undisclosed sum, Sina reported. Bilibili will also release more than 20 locally produced animations, including adaptions of popular online literature from other platforms, according to Tencent News.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. is in talks to raise about US$1.45 billion to invest in artificial intelligence and media content, The Information reported. The US$75 billion startup, which owns the video app TikTok, is reportedly in talks with potential investors, including major Chinese government-led funds and state-owned investment banks, for the new fund.

Content and carriage deals

* Netflix Inc. is producing a new South Korean original series of Jung Se-rang's fantasy drama novel School Nurse Ahn Eun-young, which tells the story of a nurse discovering mysteries in school, Financial News reported.

* Bilibili and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Taobao Marketplace struck an agreement to collaborate on content-driven e-commerce and commercialization of Bilibili's intellectual property assets. Under the tie-up, both companies will develop an ecosystem to better connect content creators, merchandise and users on both platforms.

* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal International Networks struck deals to make its DIVA, E! and DreamWorks channels available on the online video services Cookie TV in Myanmar and Hooq Digital Pte. Ltd. in Indonesia, Rapid TV News reported.

* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. extended its broadcasting agreement with New Zealand's SKY Network Television Ltd. Under the new agreement, SKY 5 will continue airing "Raw," "SmackDown" and the one-hour, in-ring show "Main Event" in New Zealand. These programs will also be available for on-demand viewing on SKY On Demand.

* Cinedigm Corp. inked a content licensing deal with Chinese entertainment company Starrise Media Holdings Ltd. Under terms of the deal, Cinedigm will release Starrise productions under its new Chinese content entertainment channel, Bambu. The titles will be included as part of Bambu's launch lineup in early 2019.

* XL Axiata formed a partnership with Netflix wherein the streaming giant's content will be available for the Indonesian telco's home internet broadband subscribers.

Service launches

* Chinese video-sharing and live-streaming app Kuaishou launched a feature allowing users to play video games within its app without downloading them separately, the South China Morning Post reported. Currently, there is only one game available within the Tencent-backed platform.

* Eros Now, Eros International Plc's over-the-top South Asian entertainment platform, launched a new short-form content platform called Eros Now Quickie. The platform features series with shorter episodes, ranging between 8 minutes and 10 minutes.

* Canada-based digital content provider QYOU Media Inc. is partnering with Bharti Airtel Ltd. to launch an original digital content channel on Airtel's platform in Hindi. The network, called The Q India, shows local content and regional shows intended for Indian audience aged 20 to 30.

Other news

* ByteDance-owned short video app Douyin is testing hosting videos of up to two minutes, 36Kr reported. According to a source, the platform is looking for new strategies to increase viewers' attachment to content.

* KT Corp. is considering acquiring local cable TV operator D'Live, while LG U+ is preparing for the acquisition of CJ Hello, The Herald Economy reported. According to an industry source, the acquisitions will enable KT to hold the largest IPTV market share in the domestic market, while LG U+ is expected to replace SK Telecom as the second-largest market share holder.

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